Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Best Nintendo DS Emulators for Mac

For many, playing games on consoles is the most comfortable and enjoyable way to play. But as our favorite consoles start to wear down and old games get harder to find, it gets harder to enjoy games on original hardware. Thankfully, emulators make it easy to play our favorite games from past generations, even the handhelds, right from our Mac and PC laptops.

Looking for the best way to play your Nintendo DS games on your Mac, we’ve got you covered. Here are the best Nintendo DS emulators available for your Mac.

What Do Emulators Do?

Emulators allow the host’s devices to use peripherals or run software programs that are designed exclusively for guest systems. The common use of emulators is to play video games on your computer. An emulator enables your computer to run alternate operating systems, such as the Mac operating system on your Windows PC. 

Apart from gaming, it allows you to run applications that normally won’t work on your computer. Some emulators consume a lot of processing power and can even run slower. Pick your option wisely after researching a bit on the internet. When using emulators, check if the battery is draining fast and plug in the charger to prevent shutdown during gameplay.  

Every computer, operating system, and app you use is different. For example, the features of macOS vary from Windows, and a laptop is obviously much different than the Sony PlayStation. That’s where emulators play a great role in bridging the gap between these devices. 


OpenEmu is a multi-system emulator with a compelling front-end interface that can emulate multiple resources, including Nintendo DS, Game Boy, Genesis, and more. With an interface similar to Apple iTunes, OpenEmu is exclusively available for Mac computers. 

If you’re using the OpenEmu emulator for Mac, you’ll find it simple to add, organize, and browse your favorite games. The popular Nintendo DS emulator comes with cheat code support, multiple screen layout features, and save state options. 

Organizing games is even easier with OpenEmu as it allows you to store all your games in one comprehensive place in a unified games library. You can mix and match game titles to create your unique collections from different consoles. 


DeSmuME is one of the best Nintendo emulators available. It’s a free open-source platform for Mac, Windows, and Linux operating systems. It offers graphics customization options for both 16-bit and 32-bit OS versions. 

The DeSmuMe emulator comes with USB controller support and cheats code manager features. The emulator also includes a save slot feature that enables you to continue from where you left off. 

One noteworthy thing for Windows users is that the simulator depends upon Microsoft UCRT DLLs (Dynamic-link Library). The disadvantage is that it lacks WiFi support, so you have to compromise wireless gameplay.


If you’re looking for a cross-platform emulator, RetroArch can be an ideal option as it is free and open-source. Enjoy classic games on a variety of computer models from different brands with varied specifications. Slick GUI gives you an outstanding experience.

RetroArch includes some advanced features such as 4K scaling, netplay, next-frame response time, machine translation, shaders, rewinding, and accessibility options for blinds. With extensive support, it runs PSP, PS2, PS3, 2DS, 3DS, PS Vita, Switch, Wii, Wii U, and more. 

RetroArch is a great Nintendo DS emulator because it’s not just limited to your Mac. RetroArch runs on macOS, Windows, Linux, as well as phone operating systems. Although this emulator is resource-intensive, it comes preloaded with some of the best games and supports joysticks. 


You must be waiting to read about the 3DS emulator, and if we talk about the best pick, it’s none other than Citra. 

No list of Nintendo DS emulators for Mac is complete without Citra. Citra isn’t only free and open-source, but it also runs all kinds of homebrew 3DS games. Plus, it supports major commercial titles on Windows, Linux, Android, and Mac. 

Citra is the best option for Pokémon admirers as they can play Pokémon X/Y, which runs with LLE and HLE audio. Additionally, the emulator supports game controllers that can be configured directly through the graphical interface.  

One notable thing is that Citra works well only with powerful ARM64 and x64 processors, so you may find difficulty while playing on older computer hardware. Moreover, you may find that the emulator is incompatible with several games and apps. 

Emulators for Windows Computers – Additional Info

In case you are looking for an emulator for Windows, go with NO$GBA. Although many different options are available for Windows OS, picking one per your specific needs is a must. 

If you are picking No$GBA, you might find it difficult to pronounce its name. If yes, don’t worry — we can help. It is called “No Cash GBA,” and it’s one of the best emulators for Nintendo DS and DSi. With the latest version upgrade, v3.02, the emulator supports multiplayer mode for DS ROMs. 

The emulator is compatible with commercial DS ROMs and supports Nintendo DS homebrew. It allows you to play games in full-screen mode by using NO$Zoomer. Enjoy popular games at full speed, such as Pokémon Diamond, without any glitches in graphics. 

Other than that, you may go with Ensata, which is developed by Nintendo itself. If you are looking for a touchscreen-compatible emulator, iDeas can be a great pick as it even allows you to remap keys for customized gaming controls.

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